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Bud Clydesdales to visit city

August 19, 2005|by TARA REILLY

HAGERSTOWN

tarar@herald-mail.com

Thirty-two of the most recognizable legs on television will be coming to Hagerstown today.

A hitch of eight Budweiser Clydesdales, known for their thundering presence, white feathering on their legs and beer advertisements, will stop at several locations downtown tonight and make other appearances in Washington County on Saturday and Sunday.

Wantz Distributors on Hopewell Road booked the famous horses for the weekend to mark the 72-year history of the family-owned company, which distributes Anheuser-Busch products.

Eric Riser, president of Wantz Distributors, said Thursday the Clydesdales played an important and symbolic role in the beer business by delivering the first case of beer to the White House after the 1933 prohibition repeal.

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"It's an important symbol of our heritage ... what got us to where we are today," Riser said.

Riser's great-grandfather, Hiram B. Wantz Sr., established Wantz Distributors in 1933 after the repeal. The business began at 88 W. Lee St. in Hagerstown until Riser's grandfather, Hiram B. Wantz Jr., moved the company to 340 Oak Ridge Drive near Hagerstown in 1979.

The company stayed at that location until June 2004, when it set up a newly constructed warehouse at 11743 Hopewell Road, just outside city limits.

Riser said the horses are expected to parade through downtown Hagerstown beginning about 7 p.m. The horses are to leave City Park and head to The Grille at Park Circle, move on to Washington Street and make their way to The Corner Pub on South Mulberry Street. From there, they will head to a lot by Meda's Tavern, move on to The Broad Axe, then work their way back to City Park, Riser said.

The Clydesdales will be at Wantz Distributors on Saturday as part of an open house for the distributors' retailers.

On Sunday, they will arrive at Municipal Stadium about 4 p.m. and be on hand for the Hagerstown Suns game an hour later, Riser said.

When not being shown, Riser said the horses will be stabled behind Wantz Distributors under a 60-foot-by-100-foot tent.

"These horses are kept probably better than most people," Riser said.

The horses, each about 2,000 pounds and 6- to 7-feet tall, will be accompanied by an approximately 7,000-pound wagon, Riser said.

It's the first time the Clydesdales have been to Hagerstown since 1954, he said.

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